February 2024 Vol. 1

Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®

Opportunities to learn

2024 PDP Business Conference

March 13-14, 2024

Wisconsin Dells, Wis. 

HAVE YOU REGISTERED YET? JUST ONE MONTH BEFORE 2024 BUSINESS CONFERENCE! Plans are in place for dairy’s premier educational event, March 13-14, at Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. A variety of keynote, break-out, hands-on and other sessions are on tap for forward-thinking dairy producers to learn, connect and empower your business for success. Sessions will be simultaneously translated into Spanish.


The Nexus stage will return with five companies highlighting the next generation of ideas, technologies and innovations for the dairy industry. The Preview stage will feature the latest research from university researchers, graduate students and the Dairy Innovation Hub.


The Hall of Ideas will feature an updated layout with more networking opportunities, and the Youth Leadership program returns with two leadership sessions facilitated by conference emcee, speaker and author Michael Hoffman.


Visit the 2024 conference website for the conference flier, hotel and registration details, as well as information on exhibiting at the event. For a discounted rate on lodging at the Kalahari, book your rooms through the PDP website by Feb. 19.

IT’S TIME TO VOTE! 2024 PDP BOARD CANDIDATES. As an organization founded by dairy farmers, led by dairy farmers and serving dairy farmers, the election of the Board of Directors is critical to your organization’s success. PDP board members help plan and facilitate the development of programs that bring cutting-edge research, world-class training, peer networking events and hands-on educational opportunities to the dairy industry. PDP bylaws allow one vote per dairy farm membership. 

Four candidates are on this year’s ballot, and three of these dairy-producer members will be elected to seats on the 2024-25 PDP Board of Directors. More information on each candidate can be found here.

Ballots can be cast in person at the 2024 PDPW Business Conference or mailed to PDPW. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Mon. Feb. 19.  

Dairy's Foundation

NEW THIS YEAR! ONLINE BIDDING FOR DAIRY’S FOUNDATION SILENT AUCTION! Dairy’s Foundation is expanding its annual silent auction in 2024, adding more unique items and experiences and offering online bidding for the first time. Items will be posted on www.DairyFoundation.org with bidding now open and running through 1:00 p.m. on March. 14. In-person bidding will be available during the 2024 PDP Business Conference. 

Dozens of auction items will be available, including sporting event tickets, artwork, household and farm items and numerous gift baskets featuring Wisconsin cheeses and more. Unique experience and travel packages include a Bonnie Mohr experience tour, Crave Brothers cheese box and private farm tour, a two-night stay on Washington Island, a five-course meal prepared by a private chef, a Kalahari Resort spa package, a pig roast and more.

Auction proceeds will support education and leadership development programs in the dairy industry.

For your dairy

BIOSECURITY PROTOCOLS CAN HELP CONTROL SALMONELLA DUBLIN. Salmonella Dublin is a bacterial pathogen that presents a risk to both dairy herds and human health, mainly affecting calves from 1 to 12 weeks of age. An article from Ohio State Extension provides a review of biosecurity protocols to defend against the pathogen, including personnel training, controlled access points, hygiene practices and more. When working within calf populations, work from the youngest to oldest animals and work with sick animals last to reduce pathogen spread. Read more in the full article.

SET TARGETS FOR VOLUNTARY WAITING PERIOD THAT MEET YOUR DAIRY’S GOALS. An article from Penn State Extension highlights research on the length of voluntary waiting periods (VWP) from calving to rebreeding a cow. The industry standard for calculating daughter pregnancy rate is 60 days, but there are a number of financial, operational and animal health reasons for shorter or longer timeframes, ranging from 42 to 120 days.  Setting a farm goal for VWP and tracking average days to first service is key. Learn more in the full article

DO THE LITTLE THINGS RIGHT TO MINIMIZE FEED SHRINK and other feed-related expenses. Mark Tegeler, nutritionist at Diamond V Mills, will facilitate the “Sweat the small stuff, cut feed costs” panel at the 2024 Business Conference featuring Jamie St. Pierre, dairy operations supervisor at Pleasant Valley Farm in Berkshire, Vermont, and Kurt Wierda, general manager of Plymouth Dairy Farms in Le Mars, Iowa, who will share strategies for harvesting, feed storage and tracking, mixing feed, equipment maintenance and more to help manage the greatest expense on a dairy farm. Day Two Afternoon Breakout Session.

LEARN PROPER METHODS FOR PAIN MITIGATION TACTICS in the “Managing pain from day one” session in the Hands On Hub at the Business Conference. Dr. Sylvia Kehoe, PhD, professor of dairy science at UW-River Falls, will share how to properly administer pain mitigation tactics, both orally and through injection. During this session, participants work also with cadaver heads to learn proper methods for applying dehorning tools such as burners and paste. Hands on Hub, Days One and Two.

Morning Ag Clips

FEATURED BY MORNING AG CLIPS: The USDA is now considering more than 12,000 pages of testimony as it formulates its plan for FMMO modernization. NMPF is still doing what it can to ensure that the proposal best reflects the interest of dairy farmers and their cooperatives, two NMPF economists said in a Dairy Defined podcast. Click here to read more.

For your business mind

LEVERAGE STRENGTHS OF INTROVERTED MANAGERS to lead projects and teams. While those with extroverted personalities tend to take on leadership roles in organizations, an article from Psychology Today highlights the strengths that introverts bring to project management, including thoughtfulness in decision-making, active listening, empowering co-workers, adaptability and ability to lead by example. Read the full article to learn more about providing opportunities to all members of your manager team. 

HIRE, GROW AND SUSTAIN A CULTURE where people and the business can thrive is a key to success for organizations of all sizes. The “Build – and keep – the perfect team” Business Conference panel discussion featuring Kyle Achord, vice president of team sales at Marucci Sports, and Ryan Levendoski, district leader at Kwik Trip, facilitated by conference emcee Michael Hoffman, will highlight insights on building the right environment to attract and retain team members for every role. Day Two Morning Specialty Session.

OUR ATTITUDE DERMINES OUR ALTITUDE. Join Tom Thibodeau, distinguished professor of servant leadership at Viterbo University, for an interactive conversation about ethical leadership and how to strengthen your own skills in order to inspire and support your team. This “Time with Tom” Learning Lounge session at the Business Conference will get you “thinking about your thinking” and motivated to be a stronger leader. Day One Learning Lounge.

The Dairy Signal

CONNECT WITH EXPERTS, LEARN FROM PEERS. Three days a week, The Dairy Signal® connects you with leading experts across dairy and agricultural industries to researchers at universities and government agencies to bring updates on the trends and topics that will affect your dairy business. The 60-minute sessions air every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with recorded episodes available at www.pdpw.org. Click here to tune in to archived sessions.

Presenters and topics covered recently include:

February 1

With one month of 2024 in the rearview, it’s time for an update on the industry, markets and weather trends expected to impact dairy producers through the remaining winter months and into the 2024 planting season.

  • Ben Buckner, Chief Grains and Dairy Analyst, AgResource Company


February 6

Join in for an interactive conversation about dollars and sense in udder health. The discussion will include ways to use dry-cow therapy and pathogen-based treatment options and how sound cow management can lead to positive financial outcomes.

  • Dr. Daryl Nydam, DVM, PhD, Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University


February 7

Take a deep dive with fellow dairy producers for tips on calculating cost of production. And learn about how feed quality and ingredients impact milk production. Hear about valuing forage in cost of production and discover how fellow dairy farmers measure, manage and control shrink.

  • David Trimner, General Manager and Co-Owner, Miltrim Farms Inc.
  • Shawn Kemp, CFO and Consultant at Pico/Dos Pico Dairy


February 8

Tune in for a special “fact or fiction” episode focused on calf management in cold weather, including managing the winter into spring transition.

  • Dr. Chelsea Holschbach, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Assistant Professor in Large Animal Medicine and Food Animal Production Medicine at University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine

February 13

Tune in for an interactive conversation about the nutritional content and quality of this year’s feed harvest and strategies for inventory management in the upcoming growing season.

  • Dr. Luiz Ferraretto, Assistant Professor and Ruminant Nutrition Extension Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison

February 14

Learn about “leaky gut” syndrome in calves and ways that producers can prevent systemic inflammation and support overall wellness in the youngest members of the herd.

  • Dr. Sara Kvidera, PhD., Dairy Technical Consultant, Elanco

February 15

This episode is all about organization and time management, if you can manage your time you can manage your life! 

  • Morgan Ekovich, Owner & Head Trainer of Get Fit with ME LLC 

Dairy currents

FREE VIDEO GAME APP TEACHES ANIMAL HANDLING PRACTICES for dairy farms. The Mooving Cows educational game is now available to download on Android or Apple devices and provides interactive training on handling dairy cows for dairy farm workers, veterinarians, researchers, and students studying animal or dairy science. The game was designed by faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with help from people who work on or with real dairy farms in Wisconsin. Learn more and find links to download the app here.

MINIMIZE THE LANGUAGE BARRIER with Spanish-speaking team members with a set of resources compiled by Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development. The list includes links to translation tools and apps, language learning apps and courses, podcasts and free written materials with terms and phrases specific to agriculture and dairy farming. Learn more here.

A SMALL ACREAGE CAN HAVE AN OUTSIZED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT in situations where water quality is impaired in an agricultural setting. Dr. Margaret Kalcic, PhD, associate professor of biological systems engineering at UW-Madison, and Andrew Hillman, UW-Madison graduate student in biological systems engineering, will share their research connecting hydrologic modeling with social science and policy analysis to better understand and address such events in Wisconsin’s driftless area in the “Environmental drivers and management of agricultural water quality” presentation. Day One Preview Stage.

Book Review

ASK OUTRAGEOUSLY: THE SECRET TO GETTING WHAT YOU REALLY WANT. Author Linda Swindling shares proven approaches to improve asking skills and boost chances of success in a variety of negotiations. She highlights ways to take risks to get what you know you need, not what you think you can get. Learn more here and hear from Swindling in person at the 2024 PDP Business conference, with Day One sessions focused on negotiation strategies.


“Successful people demonstrate their resilience through their dedication to making progress every day, even if that progress is marginal.”

- Jonathan Mills

Upcoming PDPW programs

March 13-14

Business Conference

Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Thank you, sponsors

Professional Dairy Producers
820 North Main St.
Juneau, WI 53039
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